DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE ACTIVISTS FACE 110 YEARS IN PRISON, TWO YEARS AFTER CONFESSING SABOTAGE

Alleen Brown


October 4 2019, 7:01 a.m.

TWO WOMEN WHO vandalized the Dakota Access pipeline in an effort to halt construction have been indicted on charges that carry up to 110 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. They are among the harshest penalties environmental activists have faced in the last decade.

Civil liberties lawyers say the charges are in line with industry-inspired scare tactics meant to deter citizens from participating in direct-action protests or acts of sabotage against oil and gas companies. As the deadly impacts of carbon emissions grow ever clearer, the fossil fuel industry has increased pressure on lawmakers and government officials to penalize those who would inhibit their projects’ operations.

At the same time, a growing number of activists have demonstrated willingness to break laws in order to highlight the urgency of the climate emergency and other ecological crises. Ruby Montoya and Jessica Reznicek, who stand accused of damaging pipeline valve sites using a welding torch, “tires ignited by fire, and gasoline-soaked rags,” are part of that trend.

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DAPL Update: Tribe Asks Court to Shut Down DAPL Due to Failed Remand; Massive Pipeline Expansion Planned

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s continuing legal battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline advanced today with a motion for summary judgment filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

Jan Hasselman, the lead Earthjustice attorney representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their lawsuit against the Army Corps, explains the significance of this legal development.

What action did the Tribe take today?

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe remains at risk of an oil spill from the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), a major crude oil pipeline that is now operational and crossing the Tribe’s unceded ancestral homelands.

On Aug. 16, 2019, the Tribe filed a motion for summary judgment with the Court essentially asking the judge to resolve the Tribe’s legal challenges to federal permits, and demonstrating why DAPL needs to be shut down until the government has conducted a full-fledged environmental analysis and studied alternative pipeline routes.

In this motion, the Tribe explains how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers based its conclusions on the risks of an oil spill on hopelessly flawed science, and lays out why the process was inconsistent with laws and policies requiring federal agencies to consult with Indian Tribes when decisions are made that affect their resources.

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STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBE SEEKS COURT RULING TO HALT PIPELINE OPERATIONS, AS DAPL PUSHES FOR EXPANSION

Latest chapter in legal battle against DAPL coincides with pipeline operator’s bid to double pipeline capacity

Washington, D.C. —

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s continuing legal battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) advanced today with a motion for summary judgment filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

The Tribe’s brief recounts the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ failure to meaningfully respond to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s concerns throughout the remand process, in violation of federal environmental law. The Corps completely shut the Tribe out of the process, refusing to share technical information prepared by DAPL, and ignored extensive technical input from the Tribe showing that DAPL’s estimates of an oil spill risk were gravely underestimated.

Today, the Tribe asks the Court to vacate an easement that was granted to allow pipeline construction. This would effectively halt Dakota Access Pipeline operations while the Corps conducted a full-fledged environmental review.

At the same time, the Tribe is gearing up to respond to a new proposal by Dakota Access LLC to double the flow of oil through the pipeline from 570,000 to 1.1 million barrels per day, with the construction of new pumping facilities. Doubling the pipeline capacity would dramatically increase risks to the Tribe, which continue to go unexamined by the Corps. The Tribe has requested that the North Dakota Public Service Commission hold a public hearing on the expansion.

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Māori tribe bans replica of Captain Cook's ship from docking

(CNN) - A Māori tribe has banned a replica of Captain James Cook's ship the Endeavour from docking at its village next month, during a national commemoration of the British explorer's first encounter with indigenous New Zealanders.

The head of the Ngāti Kahu iwi, or tribe, said his group were not consulted by the government about plans to bring a replica to the region.

The ship is set to form part of a flotilla that will travel around New Zealand in October, under a celebration called "Tuia 250" or "Encounters 250."

"They never approached Ngāti Kahu," the iwi's chief executive Anahera Herbert-Graves told CNN affiliate RNZ. "I don't think it occurred to them to contact Ngāti Kahu."

"Cook never came into our rohe [territory], he sailed by, and apparently cast his eye to the port and said, 'oh, that's Doubtless Bay.' It's a fiction for him to 're-visit' us because he never came," she added.

"He was a barbarian. Wherever he went, like most people of the time of imperial expansion, there were murders, there were abductions, there were rapes, and just a lot of bad outcomes for the indigenous people.

"He didn't discover anything down here, and we object to Tuia 250 using euphemisms like 'encounters' and 'meetings' to disguise what were actually invasions," Herbert-Graves said

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THE U.S. BORDER PATROL AND AN ISRAELI MILITARY CONTRACTOR ARE PUTTING A NATIVE AMERICAN RESERVATION UNDER “PERSISTENT SURVEILLANCE”

Will Parrish


August 25 2019, 9:00 a.m.

ON THE SOUTHWESTERN END of the Tohono O’odham Nation’s reservation, roughly 1 mile from a barbed-wire barricade marking Arizona’s border with the Mexican state of Sonora, Ofelia Rivas leads me to the base of a hill overlooking her home. A U.S. Border Patrol truck is parked roughly 200 yards upslope. A small black mast mounted with cameras and sensors is positioned on a trailer hitched to the truck. For Rivas, the Border Patrol’s monitoring of the reservation has been a grim aspect of everyday life. And that surveillance is about to become far more intrusive.

The vehicle is parked where U.S. Customs and Border Protection will soon construct a 160-foot surveillance tower capable of continuously monitoring every person and vehicle within a radius of up to 7.5 miles. The tower will be outfitted with high-definition cameras with night vision, thermal sensors, and ground-sweeping radar, all of which will feed real-time data to Border Patrol agents at a central operating station in Ajo, Arizona. The system will store an archive with the ability to rewind and track individuals’ movements across time — an ability known as “wide-area persistent surveillance.”

CBP plans 10 of these towers across the Tohono O’odham reservation, which spans an area roughly the size of Connecticut. Two will be located near residential areas, including Rivas’s neighborhood, which is home to about 50 people. To build them, CBP has entered a $26 million contract with the U.S. division of Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company.

Tohono O’odham people used to move freely across these lands, Rivas says, but following years of harassment by Border Patrol agents, many are afraid to venture far from their homes.

“Now we won’t be able to go anywhere near here without the big U.S.-Israeli eyes monitoring us, watching our every move,” she says.

Fueled by the growing demonization of migrants, as well as ongoing fears of foreign terrorism, the U.S. borderlands have become laboratories for new systems of enforcement and control. Firsthand reporting, interviews, and a review of documents for this story provide a window into the high-tech surveillance apparatus CBP is building in the name of deterring illicit migration — and highlight how these same systems often end up targeting other marginalized populations as well as political dissidents.

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Today It Locks Up Immigrants. But CoreCivic’s Roots Lie in the Brutal Past of America’s Prisons.

In 2015, I spent four months working undercover as a guard at a medium-security Louisiana prison run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) with the aim of reporting on the conditions inside a private prison for Mother Jones. Shortly after I began, I was shown a short promotional video in which two of the company’s founders tell the origin story of their business. In it, T. Don Hutto and Thomas Beasley recount how in 1983 they won “the first contract ever to design, build, finance, and operate a secure correc­tional facility in the world.” Hutto looks frail, with a shiny white head and oversize glasses, but he speaks with enthusiasm, recalling the story of his company’s first immigration detention contract like he’s giving a blow-by-blow account of a winning high school touchdown. The Immigration and Naturalization Service, the predecessor of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), gave Hutto and Beasley just 90 days to get the job done. From that deal, CCA would grow into a $1.8 billioncompany that helped build the immigration detention system that President Donald Trump now plans to expand.

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US inmates stage nationwide prison labor strike over 'modern slavery'

The first part of the prisons likely to be hit will be the kitchens, where stoves will remain unlit, ready-meals unheated and thousands of breakfasts uncooked.

From there the impact will fan out. The laundry will be left unwashed, prison corridors un-mopped, and the lawns on the external grounds ring-fenced with barbed wire will go uncut.

On Tuesday, America’s vast army of incarcerated men and women – at 2.3mof them they form by far the largest imprisoned population in the world – will brace itself for what has the potential to be the largest prison strike in US history.

Nineteen days of peaceful protest are planned across the nation, organised largely by prisoners themselves.


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Breaking: Federal Court Overrules Trump and Calls For Full Environmental Review of Keystone XL in Nebraska

Breaking: Federal Court Overrules Trump and Calls For Full Environmental Review of Keystone XL in Nebraska

 

Lower Brule, SD — Today, a federal court ruled the State Department must conduct an environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline route in Nebraska. Last November, the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a “Mainline Alternative” route for the pipeline through the state. Tribes and landowners have since challenged the PSC decision. The federal court ruling is a strong affirmation of their claims and an impediment to the TransCanada corporation pipeline.

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Water Protectors Take Action to Keep Pipeline Out of Black and Indigenous Communities

Chants of “St. James needs an evacuation route!” came from the dozen-plus activists gathered at Louisiana Radio Network on July 18. The activists were part of the L’Eau Est La Vie (“Water Is Life”) camp, in Rayne, Louisiana. They want to stop the construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana from St. Charles to St. James, through the Atchafalaya Basin.

They were at the Radio Network because they want to get the attention of Lousiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who was holding his monthly radio call-in show there. They believe that the struggle against the pipeline is inherently connected to the struggles against extractive capitalism and White nationalism, and the movements for Native rights and Black lives.

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A very different justice: Red Fawn Fallis and the Hammonds

By Winona LaDuke

Early July marked two very different approaches to justice. One towards Native people and another towards non-natives Steve and Dwight Hammond, who were convicted in 2012 of setting fires that spread on government-managed land near their ranch in Oregon.
On July 8, Water Protector Red Fawn Fallis was sentenced for her involvement as a Water Protector at Standing Rock. Judge Daniel Hovland sentenced Red Fawn Fallis to a total of 57 months in federal prison. She received a credit of 18 months ‘time served’ based on her time in North Dakota jails.

Red Fawn’s case has been a major concern to Water Protectors. Despite over 800 arrests, the commitment to non violence was consistent. The case against Red Fawn had centered around allegations she fired a gun during her arrest on October 27, 2016, during a massive military raid. The gun allegedly fired by Fallis was later revealed to have belonged to Heath Harmon, an undercover FBI informant who was romantically involved with Red Fawn at the time of her arrest.

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Justice Mocked in Pennsylvania

Ellen Gerhart sat in leg irons and cuffs, a guard standing behind her, as Houston-based pipeline giant Energy Transfer Partners made its case against her on Friday in a Pennsylvania courtroom. Seconds after Huntingdon County Court of Common Pleas Judge George Zanic found the 63-year old retired teacher guilty, he began the sentencing phase of the proceeding, reading from a prepared statement on his computer. Zanic sentenced Gerhart to two to six months in the Centre County Correctional Facility about an hour away from her home.

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Judge Slams Pipeline Corporation for Frivolous Legal Claims Against Activists

August 3, 2018, North Dakota – Today, a federal judge blocked Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the corporation behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, from continuing a lawsuit against Earth First!. ETP had filed a sprawling lawsuit, claiming the environmental movement Earth First! had funded a violent terrorist presence and criminal enterprise at the Standing Rock protests, with $500,000 and proceeds from drug sales on the site, and had conspired with Greenpeace and other environmental groups to deceive the public about the environmental risks of pipelines. Today, the court rejected ETP’s allegations as factually unsupported. The judge also blocked ETP’s attempt to collect discovery against the Earth First! Journal, a non-party in the suit.

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Wallowa Lake ceremony honors return of land to Nez Perce

In a moving ceremony filled with song, word and action under the shadow of Chief Joseph Mountain, The United Methodist Church took a small step toward righting an historic wrong on Wednesday.

As 115 people gathered from the Nez Perce Tribe, United Methodist Church, camp supporters, and community, The Oregon-Idaho Conference returned a 1.5 acre parcel of land in Oregon to the Nez Perce nation.

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Two federal defendants from DAPL protests reach plea deals

JACK DURA Bismarck Tribune​​​​​​​

Two federal defendants indicted in connection to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests have accepted plea agreements.

Both deals with federal prosecutors are similar: Dion Ortiz and James White will each plead guilty to civil disorder, while prosecutors will move to dismiss charges of use of fire to commit a federal felony — similar to related defendants' plea deals.

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Two federal defendants from DAPL protests reach plea deals in barricade fire case

By Jack Dura / Bismarck Tribune 

BISMARCK—Two federal defendants indicted in connection to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests have accepted plea agreements.

Both deals with federal prosecutors are similar: Dion Ortiz and James White will each plead guilty to civil disorder, while prosecutors will move to dismiss charges of use of fire to commit a federal felony — similar to related defendants' plea deals.

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#NoDAPL water protector sentenced to 57 months

By Mahtowin Munro posted on July 27, 2018

Red Fawn Fallis being arrested.

#NoDAPL water protector Red Fawn Fallis was sentenced July 11 to 57 months in prison by a federal judge in North Dakota. She was given 18 months’ credit for time served prior to trial, and will have three years of probation supervision after her release. She and her family await news of where she will serve time, possibly in Arizona.

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Appeals Court Sides With Environmentalists In Pipeline Case

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

An appeals court on Friday sided with environmentalists who challenged the decision by federal agencies to allow construction of a 300-mile natural gas pipeline on a swath of national forest.

The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond cancels permits issued by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service allowing the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cut through the Jefferson National Forest.


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Red Fawn and State-Sponsored Sexual Assault of Native Women at Standing Rock

BY

Jacqueline Keeler TiyospayeNow

On Wednesday July 11, Red Fawn Fallis, 39, Lakota and the most high profile water protector charged with a felony at Standing Rock was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison with 18 months for time served. Her legal team will not appeal.

Fallis was found guilty of one count of civil disorder and one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon. In the video of her arrest on October 27, 2016, Fallis, a medic at the camp, can be seen arriving on an ATV where a line of police in riot gear are faced off with water protectors. The wall of men parts and a deputy tackles her saying he heard her shouting “water is life.”

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